Judge in Reno moves Mack murder trial to Las Vegas
October 4, 2007
RENO ” Unable to find enough impartial jurors to ensure a fair trial, a judge on Thursday ordered Darren Mack’s murder trial moved to Las Vegas on charges he killed his wife then shot the judge handling their bitter divorce.
District Judge Douglas Herndon granted the defense motion for a change of venue after three days of jury selection in Washoe County District Court had failed to produce even half of the potential jurors they needed.
Herndon had resisted the move in previous days, agreeing with prosecutors who said state law requires they do their best to find a jury that could fairly hear the case before considering moving it out of the jurisdiction where the crimes occurred in June 2006 because of extensive pretrial publicity.
Mack is accused of stabbing his estranged wife, Charla, to death at his town house and shooting their divorce judge sniper-style from a parking garage as the judge sat in his chambers.
From the outset, defense lawyers Scott Freeman and David Chesnoff questioned whether Mack, 46, a former wealthy pawn shop owner, could get a fair trial in a case that generated nationwide media attention and led to intense legal maneuvers.
All Washoe County judges were recused from hearing the criminal case or any civil suits stemming from it because of concerns of prejudice. And District Attorney Dick Gammick removed himself because of his long-standing acquaintance with Mack.
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Herndon is a Clark County judge who was brought in to hear the case.